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14 Must-Dos To Get Your Kitchen Ready for Holiday Meals

There's a lot to do before you serve that legendary holiday meal. To help you prepare, here are 14 must-dos to get your kitchen ready for all of your special holiday meals.

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Sharpen Your KnivesJRP Studio/Shutterstock

Sharpen Your Knives

Make sure all your knives are sharpened and ready to go long before guests arrive and the holiday meals are set. Sharp knives will make food preparation a breeze.

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Clean the OvenSyda Productions/Shutterstock

Clean the Oven

The last thing you want is the smell of last week's burned pizza cheese when you heat up the oven. And it takes just a few steps to clean your oven for holiday meals. Plus, it can be done without harsh chemicals.

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Clean Out the Garbage DisposalFamily Handyman

Clean Out the Garbage Disposal

There's no doubt your garbage disposal will be put to work this holiday meals season. So make sure it's working properly and that it's cleaned out. You can get this job done with an old toothbrush and some anti-bacterial grease-cutting kitchen cleaner.

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Make IceDaniel Krason/Shutterstock

Make Ice

Chances are you'll be serving lots of drinks during the holidays, so make sure your ice maker is working correctly. And if you think you'll need more ice than your ice maker can produce, keep a bag in your freezer.

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Wash Serving Dishes and Plattersigorstevanovic/Shutterstock

Wash Serving Dishes and Platters

You'll likely need some serving dishes for holiday meals that you don't use throughout the rest of the year. So take the time to make sure they are all washed and ready to go for your guests. And if displayed on open shelves, bowls and platters can collect dust.

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Clean Cutting Boards

Clean Cutting Boards

Your cutting boards—no matter how many times you wash them—harbor bacteria. And try using a mix of salt and lemon to clean your wood cutting boards so they are ready for all that holiday food prep! Photo: Rachel Brougham

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Check the DishwasherFamily Handyman

Check the Dishwasher

Make sure your dishwasher's drain is clear and working correctly. Remove any residue or food gunk stuck in the gaskets. And you can remove residue along the inside of the dishwasher door by pouring some white vinegar on a sponge and wiping it down.

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Ask About Allergiesmargouillat photo/Shutterstock

Ask About Allergies

As you're planning holiday meals, be sure to ask your guests if there are any allergies or food sensitivities you should be aware of. Some allergies—such as those to peanuts—can be so severe you may need to clear those items from your pantry or cupboards.

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Clean the MicrowaveVolkova Vera/Shutterstock

Clean the Microwave

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Make Room in the RefrigeratorAndrew Rafalsky/Shutterstock

Make Room in the Refrigerator

Now's the time to clean out the refrigerator, before you have to store all of those holiday meals. So toss anything you haven't used in the last few months, including jars or containers that are nearly empty. And wipe down all the walls and shelves with a mix of equal parts vinegar and water.

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Disinfect the Trash CanAleksandra Suzi/Shutterstock

Disinfect the Trash Can

Even with a trash bag in place, the bottom of the kitchen trash can harbor all sorts of grime and bacteria and be a source of bad odors. So take it outside and spray it down with the garden hose to loosen up any dirt or food particles. And while it's wet, wipe it down with an antibacterial spray and rinse. Let it dry before fitting it with a fresh trash bag.

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Organize the Spice CabinetYouCopia

Organize the Spice Cabinet

Put the spices you'll likely need for holiday meals—cinnamon, rosemary, sage—front and center and reorganize spices if needed. Also, this is a good time to check to make sure you have all the herbs and spices you'll need. Photo: Courtesy of Cest Magnifique Kits

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Check Plates, Glasses and SilverwareAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Check Plates, Glasses and Silverware

Make sure you'll have enough plates, glasses, silverware and serving dishes for all your guests and holiday meals. And if you think you'll need more of anything, ask a friend or neighbor if you can borrow what you need.

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Have the Fire Extinguisher ReadyJu Jae-young/Shutterstock

Have the Fire Extinguisher Ready

Many fires start in the kitchen, so make sure you have a fire extinguisher ready before you start preparing holiday meals. And review fire safety guidelines, such as how to put out a grease fire.

Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.